Phyllis Jenkins Barrow
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
4355 Lexington Road
Athens, GA
Athens - Phyllis Jenkins Barrow, 89, died peacefully in her home on November 30, 2009, after a lengthy illness.
The embodiment of the true Southern lady, Phyllis Barrow's life was anything but typical. In addition to being the devoted wife and mother of an extended family, she was also a veteran, university professor, community activist and political leader. Most of all, she was noted for her intelligence, dignity and empathy for the needs and concerns of others.
A native of Athens, Phyllis Parker Jenkins was the daughter of John Wilkinson Jenkins and Ruth Parker Jenkins, both of whom worked for the University of Georgia. She was among the last generation of faculty children to actually live and play on the old campus of the University as a child.
She was also among the last students to attend the Lucy Cobb Institute as a young girl, graduating from Athens High School at the age of 15. At 19, she became the first woman to earn a Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree from the University of Georgia (she would have graduated at age 18 had it not been for a bout of malaria she contracted in South Georgia). She later earned her Master's degree in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Beta Gamma Sigma and Delta Kappa Gamma.
During the Second World War, she answered President Roosevelt's call to service when she became the first University of Georgia graduate to enlist in the Women's Army Corps. She was in the second class of women to graduate from the WAC Officer Candidate School and served in the Pentagon. At war's end, she left the service with the rank of Captain, the same rank as her fiancÈ, James Barrow, also of Athens.
In the years following the war, Barrow was active in the movements that reshaped American life during the 50s and 60s. She was an activist in the movement for greater rights for women, and she was an outspoken and courageous leader in the movement for equal rights for blacks in the still-segregated South.
Among other things, she and her husband co-chaired the Athens chapter of HOPE ("Help Our Public Education"), a statewide organization formed in 1959 to oppose state laws that were designed to close the public schools, including the University of Georgia, rather than submit to integration.
In 1964, University officials asked Mrs. Barrow to teach its course on "Contemporary Georgia," a survey of Georgia history, geography, sociology and political science, a course that her mother had also taught. Mrs. Barrow's course was one of the University's most popular classes, and over the next 24 years, she taught more than 9,000 students.
Mrs. Barrow was a leader in many volunteer public works. For example, she was one of the founders of the Parkview Play School, a daycare center that still serves the children of Parkview public housing project. She was most proud of her success in preventing the center from being closed when the Nixon administration proposed drastic cuts for such programs.
She was also President of the Athens Junior Assembly (now Athens Junior League) and was successful in helping it establish the first blood bank in Athens. She was a personal acquaintance and admirer of Jeannette Rankin and was a longtime member and supporter of the Jeannette Rankin Foundation.
She gave more than 50 years of service to the Athens Salvation Army, including serving as the Salvation Army Advisory Board's first woman chairman. She also worked with the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary and attended the 1992 international Salvation Army convention in London.
Her community service brought her many awards, including Athens Woman of the Year for 1972, the Martin Luther King Human Relations Award in 1983, the UGA Alumni Society Faculty Service Award in 1990, the Athens ARCH Award for Volunteer Service in 1994 and the Woman of Distinction Award by the Northeast Georgia Girl Scout Council in 2000, among many others.
Throughout all of this time, Mrs. Barrow was very active in the political life of the state and nation. In addition to serving as an active member of the League of Women Voters, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the Democratic Party. Mrs. Barrow served as Chairman of the Clarke County Democratic Committee and of the Democratic Party for the 10th Congressional District, and she was elected to serve as a delegate from Georgia to five National Democratic Conventions. She campaigned in New Hampshire for her friend, Jimmy Carter, during his successful campaign for President in 1976, and she served as a member of the Electoral College from Georgia. In addition, she counted among her best friends some of the leading Republicans of the community.
Mrs. Barrow inherited a love of travel from her parents, who were among the first American scholars allowed to visit the Soviet Union after travel restrictions were lifted in the 30s. She put that love to good use herself at the age of 70, as a participant in the "Georgia to Georgia Friendship Force" exchange program, spending two weeks with her host family in Tbilisi, Ga., when it was still part of the Soviet Union.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Barbara Jenkins Andreotti; her husband, Superior Court Judge James Barrow; and her grandson, Clute Barrow Nelson.
Survivors include her children, Ruth Barrow Bracewell; and her husband, Mike Bracewell, of Madison, Ga.; Jim Barrow and his wife, Sallyanne, of Stephens, Ga.; Phyllis Barrow Nelson and her husband, Don, of Athens; Tom Barrow and his wife, Kathy, of Athens; John Barrow of Savannah; and Church Barrow Crow and her husband, Hal, of Athens; grandchildren, Jim and Sam Barrow of Stephens; Steven Barrow of Athens; Arthur Nelson of Athens; James and Ruth Barrow of Athens; and Parker, Eleanor, and Michael Crow of Athens; and a great-grandchild, Tyler Michael Hampshire of Lawrenceville.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, December 4, 2009, at First Baptist Church Athens, 355 Pulaski St., with burial in Oconee Hill Cemetery afterward. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, December 3, at Lord & Stephens East, 4355 Lexington Road, Athens.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Clute Barrow Nelson Life Foundation, 320 Milledge Heights, Athens, GA 30606; or to the Phyllis Jenkins Barrow Scholarship Fund, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Athens Banner-Herald on Dec. 2, 2009.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
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My father, Forrest L. Ramser, has asked me to extend his sincerest sympathy to Mrs. Barrow's family. "She was a remarkable woman; she did it all," he told me. Dad had the privilege of serving alongside her on the Salvation Army Board for over 30 years; "she was an inspiration."

Janet L. Ramser for Forrest L. Ramser
Forrest Ramser
December 7, 2009
My condolences to the family. I know Mrs. Barrow will be dearly missed.

Susan Black
December 5, 2009
The Savannah Barrows are thinking about Phyllis and our many cousins in the Athens area. We will always remember Phyllis with great affection.
All the best to all of her family.
David c. Barrow 111 - Savannah
December 4, 2009
The Savannah Barrows are thinking about Phyllis and our many cousins in the Athens area. We will always remember Phyllis with great affection.
All the best to all of her family.
David c. Barrow 111 - Savannah
David Barrow
December 4, 2009
Your Savannah cousins are thinking of Phyllis and all of the Barrow Family in the Athens area. We will remember her with great affection.
David c. Barrow 111-Savannah
David Barrow
December 4, 2009
What a wonderful person to have been in our family. Such good values and involvement.
Henry Barrow
December 4, 2009
We are so sorry to hear of your lost and we send our deepest regrets. Ms. Phyllis, was a wonderful and enlighting lady!
Lewis Winburn
December 3, 2009
I was truly saddened to hear of Mrs. Barrow's death. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and know that all of you are in my prayers. She was indeed a gracious lady. I can't remember a time when she was not a part of The Salvation Army family. She will be missed. May God's peace be with you all.
Shirley Cooper
December 2, 2009
Mrs. Barrow was my professor of Georgia History 25 years ago and to this day I still treasure the class and the assignment of naming all the counties and county seats in Georgia. I was given a new understanding of my native state and its history in a way no other Georgian could provide.
Samuel Taylor Geer
December 2, 2009
I graduated from UGA almost 40 years ago. Of all of the gifted educators who shared their knowledge with me, Mrs. Barrow was the only one I could remember by name. After some deep thought, a couple of others came to mind, but no one stood out like she did. At a time when there were so many distractions like the Viet Nam War, integration of Athens' schools, and other events that changed society, she made going to class fun and exciting. It is unfortunate that people like Mrs. Barrow are few and far between today. To her family, you know better than all what an impact she made on those fortunate enough to come into contact with her, but when a "radical" student from the late 60's / early 70s distinctly remembers Mrs. Barrow and her class, I think that says it all. Rejoice in those fantastic memories and know that your mother was truly one of a kind. My deepest sympathy to each of you and thank you for sharing her with us.
Sam Cunningham
December 2, 2009
to the barrow family, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Mrs. Barrow was a great person and i have always admired her as well as her husband, Superior Court Judge James Barrow also. i will always remember them both for what they did for civil rights and as well as other things too. i will always have an admiration for the both of them. may God bless you all.
miss nita johnson
December 2, 2009
Phyllis Barrow was someone I've admired all my life. My sincere condolences go out to her daughter, Phyllis, who was my classmate in school, to John, and everyone in the Barrow family. She was truly special and will be missed in Athens.
Donny Seagraves
December 2, 2009
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help at this time.
December 2, 2009
Barrow Family,
We extend our condolences, loving thoughts, and prayers to each of you in your time of grief. We are thankful to have been a part of Mrs. Phyllis Barrow's remarkable life and to be a part of the lives of her children and grandchildren even now and into the future. Big hugs to each of you today.
Hannah Coe
December 2, 2009
Phyllis Barrow was certainly a majestic and true southern lady who very tirelessly contributed much to Athens. We will not forget her accomplishments nor her life. My thoughts and prayers are with the Barrow children and family at this time.
With deepest sympathies,
Lynda Harden Powell
December 2, 2009
I grew up with the Barrow family first as neighbors, then in school with their children. Phyllis Jenkins Barrow was a great friend to my mother, Republican Betty Scott. Mrs. Barrow was always there when times of crisis arose in our family too. I will always remember her with fondness.
Saunders Scott
Saunders Scott
December 2, 2009
To all of the Barrow Family, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. We hope that you will find some solace knowing that your mother touched so many lives and will be fondly remembered.
Eugenie and Joe Barrow (Savannah, GA)
Eugenie and Joe Barrow
December 2, 2009
The dedication and contributions of both Judge and Mrs. Barrow made Athens what it is today. The Athens Historical Society (of which Mrs. Barrow was a charter member) offers sincere condolences to the family.
Athens Historical Society
December 2, 2009
Mrs. Barrow was a kind & gracious lady. She was truly a 'Southern Lady' and Judge Barrow a 'Southern Gentleman'. Both left their mark on our region and state.

We extend our condolences to the family.
Wendell & Betty Dawson
December 2, 2009
My heart goes out to you during this difficult time.My thoughts and prayers are with you. May your memories of your precious mother give you strength and comfort.
Deborah Porterfield
December 2, 2009
When I was a teenager I delivered the Athens Banner-Herald to Phyllis Barrow's home. Later I worked with her on John F. Kennedy's successful presidential campaign, combating, among other things, anti-catholic sentiment. She was a courageous lady.
Rufus Emory Lavender
December 2, 2009
When I was a teenager, I delivered the Athens Banner-Herald to Phyllis Barrow's home. She was among my favorite customers. Later I worked with her on John F. Kennedy's successful presidential campaign, combating, among other things, anti-catholic sentiment. She was a courageous lady.
Rufus Emory Lavender
December 2, 2009
Having met Phyllis Barrow just a few times over the years, I have always felt honored, even blessed, to have been acquainted with her, if only casually. To her family, I offer condolences for their loss -- but, more than that, congratulations for the good, long life she lived and gratitude for the many wonderful contributions she made to all of our lives.
Charles Apostolik
December 2, 2009
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Homes East Chapel
December 2, 2009
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